There have been reported incidents of Canadians being discriminated against by insurance companies on the basis that they have the potential to be affected by an inherited genetic condition (Joseph Hall, Study finds genetic discrimination
by insurance firms, The Toronto Star, 9 June 2009; and CBC, "Genetic Discrimination
," The National, 12 February 2012 cited in Walker at note 7).
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) is a federal law that protects individuals from genetic discrimination
in health insurance and employment.
198) According to Rao, "[t]he only surefire way to prevent genetic discrimination
is to safeguard genetic privacy--to construct a veil of genetic ignorance around each individual.
These groups have their own internal policies that protect against genetic discrimination
In response to these concerns, the federal government enacted the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which aimed to prevent genetic discrimination
by employers and health insurers.
Restricting coverage to "qualified individuals" would bypass cases outside of GINA's intended scope, such as suits against the National Basketball Association (199) for genetic discrimination
on the basis of genes linked to height.
Chapter by Slamet-Loedin and Jenie describes about the Ethical and Social Implications of Nutrigenomics such as consent and confidentiality issues in collecting and storing data, genetic discrimination
, and public opinion about biotechnology-related science and emphasizes on the need of clear and concise guidelines, developed in accordance with the universally adopted declarations.
of Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Center), this selection of high quality articles on cancer genetics begins with an exploration of "ethicolegal" aspects of genetic testing in the United States, such as its use on embryos or the risk of genetic discrimination
But the Bishop warned protections had to be put in place and suggested banning genetic discrimination
because companies might seek information and be unwilling to employ a person with a family history of cancer.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (73) enacted in 1996, includes the first federal protection against genetic discrimination
Privacy concerns and fears of genetic discrimination
fueled congressional passage of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, which prohibits health insurers and employers from canceling or denying coverage or increasing premiums because of a person's genetic risk of developing a certain disease.
However, unlike Title VII, GINA specifically states that "disparate impact" claims are not recognized in genetic discrimination
Examples of genetic discrimination
are both apocryphal and anecdotal.
Yet, when you look at the laws that are being rushed into place to prevent genetic discrimination
and you read in the book about court cases that relate to this very issue, the fiction part doesn't seem to fit.
CCH (Riverwoods, IL) has published "Understanding the New Disability and Genetic Discrimination
Laws of 2008, a new book that attempts to help HR and employment legal professionals understand how disability will be redefined and how to avoid discriminating against those who have a genetic market for a disease in light of the recent passage of the American with Disabilities Amendment Act (ADAA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).